2014 HIV Data for Barbados

UNAIDS_Barbados1See the latest HIV Epi data for Barbados and related documents released by the United Nations AIDS.

UNAIDS EXD address to Barbados church on the role of faith organisations in ending AIDS: […] Continue reading

New “90-90-90” Targets for Controlling the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean


The fight against HIV and AIDS continues

PORT OF SPAIN, 30 May, 2014—In a new move to jointly address the HIV epidemic and improve the lives of people living with the virus, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and partner organisations have established new targets for expanding diagnosis and antiretroviral treatment (ART) and reducing patients’ viral loads by the year 2020.

The new targets–dubbed “90-90-90”–were adopted during the First Latin American and Caribbean Forum on the HIV Continuum of Care, which is being held this week in Mexico City. The Forum was organised by a coalition of partners including Mexico’s Secretariat of Health, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and ADS (UNAIDS) and the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO).

“Expanding early diagnosis and treatment combines the clinical benefits of early treatment for patients with benefits to the population of preventing transmission,” said César Nuñez, Regional Director of UNAIDS for Latin America.

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Let’s Work TOGETHER to End AIDS

Submitted by Cedriann Martin, UNAIDS Caribbean

A statement from Dr. Edward Greene, United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for HIV in the Caribbean on the removal of discriminatory laws

Dr Greene is Professor Emeritus at UWI

Dr. Edward Greene, Professor Emeritus at UWI

I am saddened by the turn of events leading to the decision of the University of the West Indies (UWI) to terminate the post-retirement contract of Professor Brendan Bain as Director of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training (CHART) Network.

I am fully aware of the role and functions of CHART and, moreover, of the importance of Professor Bain’s leadership and his impact on a wide array of Caribbean public health practitioners and people infected and affected by HIV. I am also very aware that over the past eight months the Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies wrestled with the issues surrounding Professor Bain’s testimony in the Belize constitutional case, including the question of academic freedom.

Professor Bain’s submission to the court was aimed at upholding a law that, in the opinion of public health experts and members of civil society, reinforces stigma and discrimination against men who have sex with men.  In March 2014 Professor Bain tendered his resignation from the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) Executive Board,   presumably due to the recognition that his position was incompatible with that of the leadership and membership of PANCAP.

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HIV in the Caribbean: science, rights and justice

Submitted by Cedriann Martin, UNAIDS Caribbean – Op-Ed by Dr. Ernest Massiah, UNAIDS Caribbean Regional Support Team Director

"Protests over Prof Bain's sacking in Kingston, Belize City" - Click image

“Protests over Prof Bain’s sacking in Kingston, Belize City” – Click image

Recently, the discussion on HIV has been a mix of the selective review of scientific evidence, comments on an administrative procedure at the regional university, and perceptions on the existence of agendas that seek either to change or hold back Caribbean societies. Lost in this debate is a Caribbean reality. At the end of 2012, UNAIDS estimated that there were 260,000 people living with HIV in the region.  In many countries, approximately one in three new cases is among men who have sex with men. How do we deal with this as we work to end the epidemic in the Caribbean?

First we must recognise that HIV is a virus, not a crime.  Laws that criminalise being HIV positive, sexual behaviours such as anal sex or sexual orientation, make it difficult to mount an effective HIV response.   Persons who know their sexual behaviour or orientations are illegal are less likely either to go to health services or to speak openly about their sexual behaviour while there, thus limiting their treatment options and prevention efforts.

A soon to be released UNAIDS internet survey of more than 3,500 men who have sex with men across the Caribbean, the CARIMIS study, shows that about two in three men who got a negative HIV test result from the private or public health sector, did not talk to their doctors about their sex with men. Our laws should help create an environment in which there is no impediment to delivering targeted prevention and treatment services to a population particularly affected by HIV.

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UNAIDS Global Report Reveals Gains and Challenges in Caribbean HIV Reponses

Submitted by Martin Cedriann (UNAIDS Caribbean)


As world leaders prepare to meet at the United Nations General Assembly to review progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, a new report from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) shows dramatic acceleration towards reaching 2015 global targets on HIV.

The 2013 Report on the global AIDS epidemic highlights progress towards the 2015 HIV targets, notably a 52% reduction in new HIV infections among children and a combined 33% reduction among adults and children since 2001.

The report and supporting materials are available on the UNAIDS website at: www.unaids.org/en/resources/campaigns/globalreport2013/

Attached are the global press release as well as one which shares information and data that are specific to the Caribbean. Please feel free to contact me should you need additional information.

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Pharmaceutical Terrorism: HIV/AIDS Drugs And Profits At Any Cost

Submitted by Terence Blackett

Pharmaceutical terror began in the early half of the 20th century. “The petrochemical giants organised a coup on the medical research establishments, hospitals and universities. The Rockefellers did this by sponsoring research and donating monetary gifts to US universities and medical schools where research was drug based and further extended this policy to foreign medical establishments via their International Education Board. Those who were not drug based were refused funding and were soon dissolved in favour of the more lucrative pharmaceutical-based projects.”

“In 1939, the ‘Drug Trust’ Alliance was formed by the Rockefeller Empire in concert with I.G. Farben (an Agent of the Rothschild Dynasty). After the war, I.G. Farben was dismantled but later emerged in the many guises of the companies with whom they had signed cartel agreements.”

“These companies include: Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), Borden, Carnation, General Mills, M.W. Kellogg Co., Nestle, Pet Milk, Squibb and Sons, Bristol Meyers, Whitehall laboratories, Procter and Gamble, Roche, Hoechst and BAYER & Co. (two extant pharmaceutical companies who initially employed convicted war criminals Friedrich Jaehne and Fritz ter Meer as board chairmen). The Rockefellers Empire – in tandem with the Chase Manhattan Bank now owns over half of the USA’s pharmaceutical interests and is the largest drug manufacturing combine in the world. Since the war the drug industry has steadily netted an ever increasing profit from sales of drugs to become the second largest manufacturing industry in the world next to the arms industry (also owned by the self same Elite agencies).”

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The Tragedy Of An HIV-positive International Singer And Allegations Of Unprotected Sex Transmission

Submitted by Yardbroom

“I am sorry from the bottom of my heart.  No way did I want my partner to be infected.”


Nadja Benaissa

The above statement read in court on behalf of the accused, sums up the predicament of the beautiful international singer Nadja Benaissa of the German pop band No Angels.  Who is charged with grievous bodily harm and attempted aggravated assault. Under German law failing to disclose being HIV-positive before having unprotected sex is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.  The tariff can be extended to life if the person goes on to die of AIDS.

The allegations are that Nadja Benaissa had unprotected sex with a 34 year old male partner – unidentified because of court procedure – knowing that she was HIV-positive and did not inform him. In a highly charged moment the unidentified male addressed the accused and said:  “You have unleashed a lot of misery into the world.”

The female No Angels group has sold over 5 million records and is one of Germany’s most successful and idolised bands.

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Prime Minister Owen Arthur and Dr. Carol Jacobs Should Resign~Both Have Failed Barbados In The Fight Against The Spread Of HIV/AIDS

THE DESIRE for “bling” and showy possessions are the two main factors driving the precocious sexual activity among secondary and tertiary school students. Behaviour change consultant to the National HIV/AIDS Commission, Marilyn Sealy, disclosed this and other findings at the commission’s research symposium yesterday at Hilton Barbados. From a three-year study that examined the theme, “Risk Perception And Sexual Practices Among Teenagers In Barbados,” she stated that 85% of the participants interviewed who were between the ages of 15 and 18 were sexually active. The National HIV/AIDS Commission of Barbados, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, facilitated the whole-day seminar which examined many of the issues dealing with HIV/AIDS in Barbados, and by extension the wider Caribbean community.
“15% cited clothes, money and peer pressure as factors leading to sexual activity . . . . It’s interesting to see how they get their clothes and bus fare for school; sex is a big factor. That’s how they make their money and how their parents pay their bills.” The 2004 study took place during the Crop-Over Festival period where the researchers were present at official events and theme parties. Several risqué photographs taken on site were displayed yesterday highlighting sexually explicit positions and revealing attire. This prompted Sealy to make links between rape and scantily clad women, as well as, the music culture and promiscuity. Sealy also stated that results from the study showed that the level of HIV/AIDS awareness was elevated, but most believed they were exempt from the disease; the notion was it primarily befalls prostitutes or homosexuals.
The investigation also highlighted that, despite the high awareness of the dangers involved, “Barbadian youths continue to practice early sexual initiation, multiple sexual partners and non-use of condoms”. She also spoke to high levels of ignorance surrounding sexual relations. “Their sexual practices were mostly unprotected and included anal, oral, and vaginal sex,” she noted. A lot of young people indicated that if they practiced anal sex then they would remain virgins. They felt their hymen would still be intact, Sealy added.
Source: Nation Newspaper

jacobs.jpg Prime Minister, O$A

On the 25th September 2007, BU highlighted the cry by a leading Sexually Transmittal Infection (STI) Specialist in Barbados, Dr.Vijaya Thani. In that article her concerns about the lifestyle behaviour of our teenagers was evident. We continue to be very concern about the inability of the relevant agencies in Barbados to make an impression on our youths. They need to initiate lifestyle changes in order to arrest the spread of HIV and AIDS. We highlighted that the responsibility for HIV/AIDS falls under the portfolio of no less a person than Prime Minister Owen Arthur who took charge in 2001. He has appointed the very eminently qualified Dr. Carol Jacobs who has had access to a World Bank loan of USD15.5 million dollars to disseminate her message. It has now been over 6 years; based on feedback from Dr. Thani and scientific research by Marilyn Sealy – Change Consultant at the National HIV/AIDS Commission our young people continue to engage in sexual behaviour which demonstrates a high order of ignorance. As Barbadians when we reconcile the sexual behavior of our youth to what our authorities would have the world believe that we are an educated people, the great paradox is evident for all Barbadians to ruminate.

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Barbados Losing The Fight Against The Deadly HIV/AIDS Disease According To STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) Specialist Dr.Vijaya Thani


In 2001, Prime Minister Owen Arthur signaled the high priority he placed on the HIV/AIDS fight by assuming responsibility for the co-ordination of the national HIV/AIDS programme. The Prime Minister has kept the fight on the national agenda by setting up a National HIV/AIDS Commission to advise on policy and co-ordinate the national programme to deal with this disease. At the last National Public/Private Sector Consultation in October, Arthur called on the private sector and civil society to step up their efforts so that there could be “full national participation” in the response to the deadly disease.

He stressed that HIV/AIDS mitigation had become primarily a state-sponsored programme, but its impact was felt across every industry – therefore the fight had to extend beyond the public sector. Arthur said prevention had to be promoted as a “public good”, and therefore financed as such. The Prime Minister said he supported the business coalition model, but called for more civil society coalitions and other mechanisms to be employed in the fight.

Source: Nation Newspaper

In 2001, when Prime Minister Arthur assumed responsibility for the fight against HIV/AIDS, BU had mixed feelings. We felt a sense of satisfaction that this disease, which has the potential to destroy our small country would be targeted with all the necessary resources to ensure its spread was limited. On the other hand, we had a sneaky suspicion that the busy agenda of our Prime Minister might short-change the effort required to lead a successful campaign to mitigate the spread of AIDS/HIV. The National HIV/AIDS Commission was established under the Chairperson of the eminent Dr. Carol Jacobs. When the commission was formed, we had high hopes for its work in helping the epidemic.  This was based on the expertise of the people assigned to the commission, and their professional access to the resources that would be required to start the battle against the lifestyle change, in a society that has developed a reputation of being very promiscuous. 

Imagine our horror when we read the BACK page of the Sunday Sun of 23 September 2007, with the headline “Unsafe Sex”. The article quoted a leading sexually transmitted infections (STI) specialist, Dr. Vijaya Thani as saying, “Barbados maybe losing the battle against the spread of sexually transmitted infections among the youth.” Before we examine what the doctor had to say, it is important that we establish the credibility of Dr. Thani as someone authorized to speak on the subject of AIDS/HIV and its related issues.

It was reported that the goodly doctor has been treating STIs for about 15 years. She has been involved with abstinence training programmes, working with the National HIV/AIDS Commission for 5 years, servicing about 30 primary schools where the target audience was children ranging from ages 9 to 11.

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